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Drew Landry Sings “BP Blues” to Presidential Commission



“Just Do the Right Damn Thing”

Some of the most sensible and melodious testimony we’ve heard in a long time was given yesterday in New Orleans by crawfisherman and singer Drew Landry before the Presidential Commission on the BP Oil Spill. He has rolled up his sleeves as a volunteer to help with the cleanup effort and has started a good blog, Dirty Cajuns, as a practical info resource. He talked, he sang, the commission members listened (watch their faces as the camera pans across the dais), then he talked some more. Landry was eloquent with and without his guitar accompaniment.

My name’s Drew Landry. I crawfish out in the Atchafalaya Basin. I guess in late April I went out and volunteered in Venice. I still don’t have a job, but I just wanted to help clean up the spill, and there’s millions of volunteers who want to do something to clean up the spill that are willing to work for almost nothing, and instead we’re hiring all these contractors and wasting our $20 billion. We only have a certain amount of money to spend on this deal, and I feel like if we waste all the assets we have now, years down the road we’re not going to have anything. . . .

We definitely need other solutions, I mean, going green—whatever it takes, but to cut all of our people out of work right now, and also we don’t have any fisheries, we got nothing. We don’t want to be a welfare state, there’s no point in that. We’re hard-working people. . . . I never thought I’d be the hippie who brings his guitar to the meeting, but I’ll play it for you . . . [sings “BP Blues”]

I know you all care. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care. . . . We’re not ready for hurricane season. There’s a Gulf full of oil, and we’re sitting here worrying about this right now when we need to be giving people hazmat training so they can defend their homeland so they’re not going to be kicked out forever . . . I mean, this could be the next expulsion of the Cajun people, people who love this place.

I know the EPA said not to use Corexit and they did it anyway. It feels like BP’s in control of this deal, and the Coast Guard does what they want, and the press can’t be around. More importantly the people don’t have a voice, they’re upset, and they’re not just angry. . . . What’s the future of our ecosystem with a hurricane in the Gulf? You know? What are we looking at? . . . This shouldn’t just be about a policy change. It should be about what makes the most sense, how are we going to keep people working. It just sucks. Just do the right damn thing. It shouldn’t be this hard. . . .

See Karen Dalton-Beninato’s interview with Landry here (he’s on the phone as he’s driving down to Grand Isle) in full here (NewOrleans.com) and here (HuffPo).

Check out his Dirty Cajuns blog (“gettin’ dirty to get clean”). The blog is loaded with good YouTube videos of people affected by the oil spill, folks down the bayou struggling to clean up the mess and get back to workin’ and livin’. See the Resources and How to Get Dirty pages with information about volunteering with the cleanup, legal and social services, etc.


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One Response to “Drew Landry Sings “BP Blues” to Presidential Commission”

  1. Lou Dandy Says:

    September 8, 2010
    Contact: Cherri Foytlin, (337) 393-2219

    “Battle of New Orleans” – Historic Meeting Unites BP Oil Spill Gulf Residents, Victims of Exxon Valdez Spill , Hurricane Survivors and 9/11 First Responders
    New Orleans (September 11, 2010) – In a historic gathering, Gulf coast residents devastated by the BP oil will join 9/11 first responders, victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to share lesson on preparing for future disasters from 1:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Saturday, September 11, 2010. Outraged by what they believe is BP and the government’s inappropriate and slow response to the Gulf oil spill, this event will, for the first time, join concerned citizens with non-profit organizations for an exchange of ideas on community-led action, in response to the immediate and long-term health, environmental and economic impacts of the BP oil disaster.
    “Almost 200 years ago the Battle of New Orleans united an otherwise disparate group of people in a common cause,” said Cherri Foytlin, journalist and wife of oil worker. “The Gulf oil spill is having a similar effect – it’s uniting our communities to take action for ourselves, but solutions can only be found by first telling the American people the truth about the severity of the problem.”
    Gulf coast fishermen, oil spill clean-up workers and oil field workers will reveal firsthand accounts of environmental and health hazards they faced in response to the oil spill.
    “This man-made disaster has completely decimated our Gulf coast fisheries and rendered them unsafe,” said Karen Hopkins, seafood industry worker and community organizer. It is irresponsible for the our government to have given the green light to fishing, when we know most of the oil is still out there.”
    With an active hurricane season, leaders hope this historic meeting will provide a roadmap to community-led action in response to averting future disasters. For more information, contact Cherri Foytlin, (337) 393-2219.
    Battle of New Orleans Events Schedule:
    1:30pm – Oil spill and hurricane survivors and first responders meeting to take place in Creole Queen Riverboat. Group will meet the press at the historic Chalmette Battlefield
    7:30pm – Sunset community prayer vigil in Jackson Square in honor of those impacted by the BP oil spill, the Exxon Valdez spill, and 9/11 attack.
    8:30pm – Benefit concert at Tipitina’s (233 N Peters Street, French Quarter). Proceeds will go to Gulf coast residents and environmental groups. The concert is the official release party for Drew Landry’s song, “BP Blues”. Other bands include: Clarence “Tadpole” Henry- Son of New Orleans legend Frogman Henry and Bruce Dagrepont w/ the Frishberg Family band, Michael Juan Nunez, Folk band Sasafraz, Mike Dean, and Kevin Sehkani.
    Gulf Coast Community Leaders and Speakers:
    Kindra Arnesen (LA)- Community activist and wife of fisherman who has been voice of Venice, Louisiana during the spill.
    Drew Wheelan (WA)- American Birding Association coordinator who has been tracking numbers of wildlife killed or injured by the spill.
    Drew Landry (LA)- Local folk musician, sang “BP Blues” during the first hearing of the Oil Spill Commission. http://www.dirtycajuns.com
    Karen Hopkins (LA)- Founder of “Support Our Country’s Commercial Fishermen,” staffer with Dean Blanchard Seafood, a major wholesale supplier in the Gulf, and outspoken critic of the spill’s damage to the Gulf seafood industry.
    Lorrie and Bubba Williams (MS)- Crab fishermen, have been documenting and exposing oil spill impact on Mississippi coastline.
    Cherri Foytlin (LA)- Wife of oil worker, addressed the Oil Spill Commission and has publicly reached out to President Obama to meet with Gulf coast residents.
    Glenn Reed (AK) – President of Pacific Seafood Processors Association, Exxon Valdez survivor.
    Steve Minors (AK) – Executive Director of the North Pacific Crab Association, Exxon Valdez survivor.
    Richard Skinner (NY) – 9/11 First Responder, Fealgood Foundation representative.

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